Ronnie Belliard Gets a Pink Slip

Well, I can’t say I saw this coming:

Ronnie Belliard was designated for assignment and Trent Oltjen was called up from Albuquerque.

That’s via Ken Gurnick, and he means Trent Oeltjen, who we knew would be recalled yesterday.

Belliard’s incompetence is something I touched upon a few times this year, but probably never as much as it really deserved. I mean, since the beginning of July he was hitting just .175/.232/.222, with three extra base hits, and offering a lot of negative value on defense. His spot could have been put to better use months ago, and it wasn’t.

But what’s odd here is that Belliard’s being DFA’d in September, after rosters have expanded. As I mentioned yesterday, the 40-man is full, but one way to get around that would be to put Xavier Paul on the 60-day DL, since he won’t be back this season after suffering a neck injury. It’s the long-established m.o. of the Ned Colletti administration to keep as many players under club control as possible, sometimes going to absurd lengths to do so.

That wasn’t done here, and the timing of it makes me wonder. Just how much of Belliard’s continued employment was an attempt to make Manny Ramirez happy, since it’s well known that the two were good buddies? Manny’s been gone for barely a week, and now Belliard is out the door, despite no desperate roster need to do so, and no new on-field evidence to demand it (by that I mean, he doesn’t suck any more now than he already has all season).

I always figured that Belliard’s friendship with Manny was just a nice additional perk from a mostly useless backup infielder. Perhaps it was his only use to the club at all.

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